You Can Do Hard Things

Posted 06/20/18 6:32 PM by

The last few months have been a blur of last minute assignments, exams, baseball games, lacrosse playoffs, awards ceremonies, banquets, open houses, graduation! and life’s expectations. A few weeks ago while we were in the throws of the last week of senior year my ADHDer found himself under a pile of work he had to get done and a short time frame. We laugh about his “life motto” … “The quicker I fall behind the more time I have to catch up” but there are times it gets very real very quickly.

I found myself micromanaging his time — which admittedly he needs a bit of — and stressing, worrying, fretting about him getting his work done.  It was about that time that I read this gem on a friend’s facebook page Sarah Brya Ignite Your Soul Fitness. She was telling a story of watching her daughter finish a long night’s homework … her advice to her daughter, “You can do hard things.” 
There it was, a profound lightening of my shoulders. He can do hard things. He’s not fragile, and neither am I.  He had gotten himself in a pickle — and he could get himself out.  And he did. And no manner of fretting and obsessing on my part helped.  At all. 
Something I have always struggled with — letting my kids lay their path and guiding from the side — all the sudden seemed easier.  Five words and a lens shift.  You can do hard things. The freedom of believing and knowing they can do what needs to be done was exhilarating.  But frankly, the reminder that even if he didn’t — he could do the hard things needed to right himself — was the grace I needed to give him and myself.
You can do hard things. 
This morning as I prepared for an interview about my book by the Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine I found myself fretting, worrying. What had I gotten myself into? I am just a mom who likes to write. I suddenly doubted my book was worth talking about and knew for certain my story was just as ordinary and average as could be. I texted E: “I am nervous about this interview. I tend to ramble … I don’t want to ramble. I’d like to sound intelligent if I can.” He laughed, told me I would be fine. His levity helped assuage my fears a bit.  And then I heard “You can do hard things.” in the back of my mind.

I can do hard things.

The interview was fine … fun even! On the ride home I ruminated over the questions and my answers … I was mostly happy with what I had said. The last question my interviewer had asked was if I had any last thoughts to share that she hadn’t asked.

My typically overfull mind was blank … “No, nothing I can think of,” I said.

On my twenty minute ride home, as always happens, my thoughts became clear.

You can do hard things.

We, as women, wear so many hats. We care for children, our parents, our partners.  We tend to our work and our homes. We contribute to our communities, schools and friendships and work on our marriages and partnerships.  For years I did not spend a sustained amount of time on my dream of becoming an author because for me, it did not feel that the time I would spend working on my craft would contribute to my family in a significant way.  It was too hard to do both – to put my family first and still invest in myself.

What I have learned is that investing in myself is investing in my family. And I am so blessed that my sons and my husband not only encouraged me to pursue my dreams they have celebrated my accomplishments with me. Having them be proud of me was something I didn’t know I needed.  I can do hard things.

Writing Last Turn Home showed my boys that pursuing your dreams is worth the time and effort.  Writing Last Turn Home showed my boys that life is full of all kinds of detours and distractions.
Writing Last Turn Home showed my boys that I can do hard things.
Writing Last Turn Home showed my boys that they can do hard things.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What would you do if you weren’t certain investing in yourself distracted from your family? What would you do if someone asked, “If you could do anything you want what would it be?” Where does your mind go when you dream?

I changed my facebook blog page to “Lara Alspaugh, Author” from “Confessions of a Daughterless Mother” this week.  It made me sad to see CDM change, but I feel excited about the change, too.  My blog still exists, and always will.  You can access it easily by heading to my web page and I will continue to write about raising this tribe of mine so we can always remember that we are more alike than different and that none of us are alone.

I have grown in the warmth of your comments and thoughts in response to my blog and book. I have reached out toward the sunshine that writing gives me with your encouragement and for that I am so grateful.

You can do hard things. What would you do if you decided to believe that?

Take care,


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